February – the shortest month – has become the time of year when the RPM challenge runs. Record Production Month is an annual event that invites musicians to get round to compose, record and release an album of at least ten tracks or at least 35 minutes of original music. I’ve considered it several times in the past and, this year, I’m finally giving it a go.
Tonight, my goal was to get the first track done and here it is:
Jus’ Made It Up is a very prosaic title because I just made it up. First I fired up Ableton and reminded myself of the basics of audio recording before plugging in my bass (the Sei Flamboyant 6 string) through my Zoom B3 FX unit. I picked my ‘bass’ sound, selected a rhythm loop and jammed around, somewhere in the vicinity of C minor. Next I added a chordal part, using a different FX patch and, oh yes, Fm will fit in too. Then another patch and a bit of a lead line, making sure to listen and respond rather than playing all the time.
Part of that part wasn’t quite right so I spent a few more minutes learning how to punch in and then made a few passes before replacing a section. The join is fairly seamless; I can find it again by looking at Ableton but not by ear.
Next, it was onto adding some FX in Ableton – a couple of ‘grain delays’ ones to the drum track (‘Drum Electrifier’ and ‘Rubberband’), reverb (‘Ambience Medium’) to the chordal part and ‘Wide and Dirty’, an ‘erosion’ effect, to the lead line. I also used iZotope’s dynamic delay, which I picked up for free in an offer a while ago, to splurge across the output. An automated fade out at the end and job done.
I’m under no illusions that it is a masterpiece but I’m pleased at how it turned out. Most importantly, it is turned out; I’ve made a start and, even if I don’t get a chance this month, it is an original composition that I can work on again in future.